Student Reflections

5 Must Sees/Dos in Geneva

Sharan Sekhon
August 17, 2022

1. The Obvious One: the lake!

Does this even need to be said? Geneva lake is right there. It is a beautiful place to picnic, swim, or paddle boat the day away! We spent a lot of afternoons at the lake cooling off. Fun fact: a lot of Geneva (including our hostel!) does not have air conditioning! The lake is perfect for sitting by to cool off with just the breeze but also it is perfect for swimming in. The water is extremely clear, so you may think it’s shallower; be warned, the lake is deeper than it looks!

There are many places to swim all around the lake so try not to get bogged down in the same place you go to every time! Try a new place. If you cross the lake, there’s at least one sandy beach I know of; the rest are either rock or lawn! There are also paddle boards, pedal boats, and other lake activities you can rent out to make your day on the lake a little more exciting. I did not get a chance to try out any of these options, but they looked like great fun. So don’t forget to explore all your options!

2. You gotta eat…Panini Fabrizio!

Panini Fabrizio is Professor Garcia’s personal recommendation! I mentioned it in my last piece as well, but it’s not just cheap it’s delicious! I have gone every Saturday to get myself a panini from this amazing food truck run by a father-daughter duo! I recommend the chorizo, but if you’re vegetarian, another favorite of mine is the aubergine! You have to cross the lake to get there, but he is only there every Wednesday and Saturday!

The affordable meal is super filling and nearby a couple of great tourist places. You can walk through the area as you finish up your sandwich and then go shopping! There’s great (but expensive) shopping in Geneva. Bring a little extra cash and space in your suitcase if you plan to do this!

Bonus: the famous Mouette boats!

To cross over to Panini Fabrizio, you need a boat! You could walk, but it is a journey. Besides, the mouette boats are super convenient (they come every 10 minutes), and they’re adorable! The yellow ferries are a key feature of Geneva; you haven’t truly explored Geneva if you haven’t been on them. It’s amazing to see tourists using them but then also the actual population of Geneva using them to get to/from work!

3. Explore Old Town

After you get your paninis and walk around that area, you are just downhill from Old Town! You are, I believe, technically in Old Town, but it doesn’t feel that way on the main road with the trams and cars going by. If you walk uphill from the food truck, you will find adorable restaurants but also an incredible bookstore that you, unfortunately, cannot take pictures of! After you stroll through the bookstore, you can go see the Old City Hall, the Alabama Room, and a collection of old cannons just placed in the square for all to see! There’s also a clock tower you can climb up if you’re willing to brave the stairs!

There are also occasionally free tours of Old Town you can sign-up for as well. Google free tours Geneva, and they should come up. Just tip your tour guide well at the end! There is a lot of history to be seen and experienced in Geneva if you’re up for it. I always recommend taking a walking tour of a new city you’re in and then exploring based on what you found most interesting!

4. Ferris Wheel!

The famous Swiss Wheel in Geneva overlooks the lake right by the Jet d’Eau! There’s a beautiful garden at its foot with an actual functioning clock, it’s called the Flower Clock, and it is a must-see. You can purchase tickets to go up the Ferris wheel for 7CHF! Tickets can be purchased right there; no need to book in advance! I recommend going up in the evening to see the sunset but also the night is beautiful with the lights on the water! There is no bad time to go up and take in the view. Be sure to check out this attraction!

5. Brunch anyone?

Now there are a few places we stumbled across that served iced coffee, but I will say there was only one place that had spectacular iced coffee. It was Marcel! I highly recommend this place for a hearty brunch and a great coffee. I was unable to find a better-iced coffee during my time in Geneva, but if you find a place, be sure to share it!

The meals in Geneva, as in most of Europe, are smaller and less heavy than we Americans are used to. This restaurant, while not cheap, was affordable and gave a large plate. Their menu changes seasonally, so be sure to check out their website. I also recommend making reservations as they have a small area, and it gets packed!